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Grange History

Grange History & Photo Collections

Photos of the Kinton Grange --- 1998 - 2007

Robert Wenzel Collection -- Photos taken in the neighborhood, mostly 1900 - 1950

We started our Accessibility Project (The Carl & Dorothy Allen Memorial Wheelchair Lift) with fundraising in 2007, and completed construction at the end of 2008. We received donations in cash and kind from over 200 individuals and organizations, raising over $100,000 in cash.

Please come to the Grange to see the Lift, our new accessible restroom, and the plaque thanking our 30 largest donors.
And Thanks to ALL the supportive members of our generous community!
Back in December 2006, when we thought about how to maintain our "look" while adding a wheelchair lift to the front of our building, it seemed appropo to try to see what the Grange looked like in the past. So we did a little research and got very lucky -- see the 3 fine photos given to us below!

(We'd be happy for some additional pictures of the Grange Hall or Community to post online.)

The Kinton Grange Hall has changed over the years. Adding a wheelchair lift has caused it to change again, and in a way that enhances the historical character of the neighborhood. The shaft for the lift has been constructed to replicate the old Kinton School belltower.

January 27, 2007
Photo from Tile Flat Road January 27, 2007 by Susan Peter

Phyllis Wilson, the State Grange Master found this old photo for us -- Kinton Grange on February 21, 1939.
↓Note the car on the left, and on the right, the pair of outhouses and the boy walking toward the school.↓

↑ Zoom in (control key plus mouse wheel) to see the classic Greek temple porch coming up on three sides. At this time, a person walked up the stairs and through the main entrance before going down an inside stairway to the basement kitchen. This stair was just inside on the left -- a piece of unusual wall is all that remains to mark the spot. Loretta Flint remembers this stairway from her childhood, long ago.

Look below to see the contruction photos with the doorway (sans porch) going through at ground level. If you are familiar with the Hillsboro Grange Hall, this is the same entry found there now: a street-level entrance with a narrow stairway down to the basement immediately to the left as you enter the building, and straight ahead, a wide staircase up to the main hall.

Kinton Grange under construction in 1917 from the Robert Wenzel collection.

Robert's father, Fred Wenzel age 17, is standing next to the cook.


These construction photos show the top of the concrete foundation wall four feet above grade, as it still is. The old ground-level doorway through this concrete wall had been filled when a porch was built (prior to 1939).

For the accessibility project we cut through this wall in the same location -- re-opening the old entry and more -- so the lift could access the lower level and incidentally create new space for an accessible restroom.

These old photos are some of Robert Wenzel's gifts to Kinton Grange. More of his father's old pictures are posted at Robert Wenzel Collection and a few are on display in the Kinton Grange Hall.

Fred's parents (Robert's grandparents), August and Martha Wenzel immigrated from Croatia in 1902 and settled on a farm (now owned by the Grise Family) on Grabhorn Road in 1907.

Historic Significance of the Kinton Grange

In 1867, Oliver Hudson Kelley, a Minnesota farmer and activist believed that farmers, because of their independent and scattered nature, needed a national organization which would represent them much as unions were beginning to do for industrial workers. Farmers were at the mercy of merchants for both needed farm supplies and for marketing their crops. Railroads and warehouse companies were taking advantage of farmers as well. It was Kelley’s vision that started the Patrons of Husbandry, alternatively known as The Grange.

The Kinton Grange, located 14 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon is the hub for social interaction for the farmers, ranchers and residents of the Kinton area. During World War II it was the place where the ladies would meet and roll bandages for the wounded service men. It was also the place for a potluck, visit and dance on Saturday nights. Families would, and still do, rent the Grange for large family gatherings and receptions.

Early in its history Grange leaders realized that social interaction was especially important to rural residents. For nearly 130 years Grange halls have existed as community centers where residents gather for educational events, dances, potlucks, town meetings, political rallies and other meetings. Junior Grange, 4-H, FFA, Scouting and Camp Fire groups have thrived because of Grange involvement and each year tens of thousands of Grange members participate in numerous community service projects.

Throughout the years even with many Granges closing, the Kinton Grange took on a more important role of this small farming community. With people moving to town to be closer to their work places, and then in the 1950's when their local schools and post offices were shut down, the remaining people looked to the Kinton Grange as the one place that kept their community tied together.

Now, when cities are surrounded with "bedroom communities" because the majority of people work "in town," it becomes normal to limit your social life to interaction with co-workers. This often results in extensive driving to attend events. The Kinton Grange is an opportunity to socialize within our local community, and meet the folks in our own neighborhood. It is a place where everyone is welcome to attend community functions and to feel part of the community.

It is easy to see that the Kinton Grange is a place for everyone. However the Kinton Grange has had to turn people away. Not because the people are unwelcome, but because the Grange is in need of an elevator to facilitate people who are unable to walk up the stairs.

We are asking you to help the Kinton Grange to continue being the gathering place for this farming community, to keep the history alive and to help us to continue to facilitate the needs of all the community. We are asking your company for any donation to help us install this elevator in our building.

-- written March 2007, by Susie Haag who was raised in the Kinton Community and is the daughter of Erma Cron, a Kinton Grange member since April 10, 1940, and recently deceased.

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